The Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum on Monday withdrew from an agreement signed with the Centre to repatriate displaced Bru families living in Tripura since 1997 to Mizoram. The forum said that the terms agreed upon between the governments of Mizoram, Tripura, and the Ministry of Home Affairs were not acceptable to the Bru community, The Indian Express reported.

“We have informed the Ministry of Home Affairs that the terms are not acceptable to our community,” Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum General Secretary Bruno Msha said. “The Bru want permission to construct temples in Mizoram, cluster housing and land for cultivation. These demands are not acceptable to the Mizoram government.”

He said Bru families wanted the compensation amount of Rs 4 lakh in their savings accounts, not as fixed deposits. “We will consult our people and decide the future course of action,” Msha added.

The forum’s president, A Sawibunga, said that they were pulling out “due to strong agitation” by the Bru people against the organisation’s leaders. “The Mizoram government laid down the condition that we will have to drop our political demands which included creation of an autonomous council, Assembly seat and job reservation,” he added. “Presently, we are looking at resettlement but the state government should realise that the prosperity of Mizoram depends on the development of minorities.”

Around 5,000 Bru refugees living in Naisingpara, Ashapara and Hezacherra transit camps in North Tripura marched to the forum’s office in Agartala and gheraoed it on Monday, The Telegraph reported. They demanded that the forum immediately pull out of the deal, Msha said.

“At the end of the agitation, they ransacked the forum’s office, attacked Sawibunga and forced him to sign a document saying we have withdrawn from the offer,” he claimed.

Kiran Kumar, a sub-divisional police officer from Kanchanpur, corroborated Msha’s claim that the refugees forced Sawibunga to sign a document pulling out of the deal, but said no ransacking or violence had taken place.

In 1997, the murder of a Mizo forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram’s Mamit district allegedly by Bru militants led to a violent backlash against the community, forcing about 37,000 to flee to neighbouring Tripura.

Earlier in July, the Mizoram and Tripura governments, the Centre and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum agreed that 5,407 families comprising of 32,876 persons staying in temporary camps in Tripura will be repatriated to Mizoram before September 30. A committee under Special Secretary (Internal Security) was to coordinate the implementation of this agreement.